The rise and fall of the liberal international order


The so-called rules-based international order is under serious threat. But it is a mistake to blame Donald Trump. In fact, that order was bound to fail, because the key policies on which it rested are deeply flawed.

Contrary to the policy consensus in Washington, Brussels and Canberra, democracy is not an export commodity. Since the collapse of Soviet Communism, liberal excesses have provoked a powerful nationalist backlash. Moreover, the “unipolar moment” that defined U.S. grand strategy in the post-Cold War era is over.

In the emerging multipolar world, there will be a realist order to manage the global economy, and Chinese-led and U.S.-led bounded orders that will help the two great powers to prosecute their security competition.

John Mearsheimer is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities(Yale University Press, 2019).


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